by Ladislav Sandor. Published: 16 March 2012

My origins lie in Eastern Slovakia. I was born in the heart of a very interesting and attractive multicultural region called Spiš (Scepusium in Latin, Zips in German) with plenty of historical monuments (a number of them being listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites) and areas of natural beauty (for example the High Tatra Mountains and the Slovak Paradise - a mountain range particularly known for its gorges and waterfalls). This rare environment stimulated my interest in the history and art (in particular gothic) of the area. It is indeed worth of a visit.

Ladislav Sandor

Ladislav Sandor

Slovakia is a nice country with a lot of contrasts. Unfortunately, the 40 years of the communist era did not foster proper and balanced development. However, the last 20 years helped to improve things. After finishing my university studies I lived (with the exception of 7 years spent at JINR in Dubna, Russia where I participated in bubble chamber experiments) in Košice and I became a patriot of this not very big, but pleasant historical city. It was the first town in Europe to be granted (in 1369) its own coat of arms (by King Louis I the Great). We have in our city the beautiful St. Elisabeth cathedral, Slovakia’s biggest church, built in the High Gothic style between 1378 and 1508. It is one of the easternmost gothic cathedrals of Europe. Next year, in 2013, our city will act, together with Marseille, as a European Capital of Culture.

I myself enjoy photography, nature, and gardening. In my spare time (having not too much of it) I also like reading, playing piano, and listening to music. During my stays in Geneva I discovered the beauty of French organ music, which is generally not too much known in Slovakia. I love it very much; old masters like de Grigny and Lebegue, classical and romantic composers like Boely and Widor, and modern composers like Messiaen.

I am a physicist by training, working since 1976 at the Institute of Experimental Physics of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Košice. The city is a metropolis of the Eastern part of Slovakia, the second largest city (after the capital Bratislava) of the country with more than a quarter of a million of citizens, three universities and a number of scientific research institutions. Presently I am working as a senior researcher and a team leader of a nice group of scientists and engineers from my home institute as well as from the Košice university. We started our activity in the field of heavy-ion physics about 20 years ago, participating in the WA97 and NA57 experiments at the CERN SPS. In parallel we were switching to the R&D activities and simulations for the ALICE experiment, which gradually became our main activity. Our team contributed to the development and building of the electronics for the silicon pixel detector (SPD) of the ALICE Inner Tracking System, and also to a part of software development for the central trigger processor. In the physics analysis our team is involved mainly in the study of strangeness production processes. We run a well performing computing farm in Košice, actively contributing to the Grid computing for ALICE. Part of the farm forms a PROOF cluster SKAF, used as one of the ALICE analysis facilities. The Košice team consists of about a dozen people, including PhD students.

My own interest in mathematics and physics started in my secondary school years, in the 1950s. It was a time, during the post-war period, when nuclear physics became a very attractive branch of science. I got my physics education from the Faculty of Sciences at the Košice university, where I was among the very first graduates. My Alma Mater will soon celebrate its 50th anniversary. From that you can easily deduct that I have entered the emeritus age... I plan to hand over my team leadership duties to younger colleagues at the end of 2012. However, I would like to remain in touch with ALICE physics for some time in the future.